African artists are experimenting with the genre of artists’ books, while international artists are exploring African themes in theirs. Artists’ Books and Africa is the first exhibition to focus on African artists books from the Smithsonian Libraries’ Warren M. Robbins Library and the National Museum of African Art. The featured books span from illustrated nineteenth-century atlas folios to livres d’artistes to twentieth-first century artists’ books.
Artists’ books resist definition. Let’s just say an artist’s book is a book made by an artist that the artist calls an artist’s book! Artists’ books build on the traditional codex of sequentially bound pages. These visual and tactile artworks play with the codex format in fanciful ways, pushing the boundaries with sheer unexpectedness.
Exhibition overview from museum website